Matt Nelson

Matt Nelson

Tissue Donor, North Dakota

Matt Nelson was a giver. He gave three years of service in the United States Army, stationed at Fort Leavenworth.

On family outings he would often buy sandwiches and water and give it to people he saw on the street. He would provide them with a business card and let them know if they were looking for work, they could call him and he would find something for them to do.

He just wanted to help.

He knew the value of family and treasured his time with his wife, Danyel, and their two sons Jordan, 16, and Caleb, 4. He treasured special moments teaching his oldest to drive and enjoying cartoons and movies with his youngest. He gave laughter, happiness, joy, friendship, love.

Over a typical hometown Thanksgiving dinner, surrounded by loved ones, the Nelsons were ready to enjoy their holiday.

Then, the next morning—

Danyel woke to find her husband of 17 years, Matt, lying in bed unresponsive. In that blurry moment, she recalls feeling as if her heart was actually being yanked from her chest.

Matt was taken to the hospital, but never regained consciousness.

She clearly remembers when her 16 year old son, Jordan, looked her directly in the eye and told her that after an exhausting five days of second, third and fourth opinions, it was time to let him go. At 37 years old, Matt passed away from cardiac arrest.

It was no surprise that Matt had decided to be a donor, and Danyel protected his decision. His generous decision was transformed into a legacy of hope and healing for 76 people. Men and women, adults and children, coast to coast—all living with a gift from Matt.

Matt Nelson was a giver. Fittingly, his gifts are now his legacy.

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